Washington and Lee University

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Average Rating: 58.7 Average Consensus: 69 Average Review: 76.8
College Consensus
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Student Consensus
Scores last updated on January 6, 2024
Percent Admitted
4-year Graduation Rate
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Average Undergraduate Students Aid
In-State Tuition and Fees
Out-of-State Tuition and Fees
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Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
Carnegie Classification
Baccalaureate Colleges: Arts & Sciences Focus
Religious Affiliation
Not applicable

Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected schools. Founded in 1749 as Augusta Academy, it was renamed to Liberty Hall Academy in 1776. When retired US President George Washington gave an endowment to keep the school open, it became Washington Academy, then Washington College in his honor. General Robert E. Lee served as college president from 1865-1870 (the year of his death); afterwards the school was given its current moniker to honor his contribution to the school and the state. This 4-year private university abuts Virginia Military Institute in the Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains (around 180 miles from Washington, DC). A row of brick buildings comprising the Collonnade dates to 1824 and is a US National Historic Landmark. Three Supreme Court Justices, 94 US Congressmen and explorer Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark) graduated from this school.

Academic Programs

Washington and Lee University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and offers Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and Doctorates in 42 majors. The University is comprised of three academic units: The College; the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics; and the School of Law. Special accreditation is given to the Teacher Ed program as well as the Law School; although the largest programs are in Business – Business Management and Accounting. W&L’s concise Mission Statement says “Washington and Lee University provides a liberal arts education that develops students’ capacity to think freely, critically, and humanely and to conduct themselves with honor, integrity, and civility. Graduates will be prepared for life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.” There is a strict honor code on campus that traces directly to Robert E. Lee, who said, “We have but one rule here, and it is that every student must be a gentleman.” It is strictly enforced with formal inquests and guilt leads to dismissal.

Student Life

The 2,200 students who attend W&L have a myriad of clubs and societies to keep them busy – based on affinity group, interest, field of study or Greek life. Club sports and Intramurals are prevalent for the non-varsity athletes. The blue and white Generals field teams as part of the NCAA Division III in 12 sports. Traditions run strong through the University as well; every 4 years a mock presidential convention is held (representing the party not in power) – they have accurately selected the candidate 18 times over the past 23 elections. The 105 year-old traditional Fancy Dress Ball is a black tie affair. There are rumors of secret societies, but no one knows for certain. While attending W&L, students are taught the hallmarks of a Washington and Lee graduate: A resourceful intellect and talent for independent thinking; the capacity to evaluate information critically and to convey it effectively; competence in many methods of defining, approaching and solving problems; a lively curiosity about and mature respect for varied cultures and intellectual perspectives; a lifelong commitment to learning, to health and well-being, and to the values that inform a W&L education.

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?